Skip to main content

Full text of "Families of Head and Somerville"

See other formats



[Vl. la. 



3 1833 03109 1652 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 

Families of /f/^ 

Head and Somerville 

Printed Privately 

■ h 

7 Q 8359 


^EDEKICK WiiiiAM = Jessie, da. of Hoiible. J. Maclkan. 
>rn 1854. died 1886. Treasurer of Queensland. 

^ :« i i ^- 

? I 

« ? 


The Lords of Somerville 

THE origin and history of this family may 
be read in detail in the " Memories of the 
Somervilles," written by James, eleventh 
Lord Somerville, and published in 1815 with an 
introduction by Sir Walter Scott, who truly says of 
the author that " his style is of such prolixity as has 
seldom been equalled." 

It is exceedingly difficult to follow his quaint 
language and spelling through the maze of digres- 
sions into which he enters. I have, however, 
managed to extract from it the pedigree of the house 
from its known origin down to the time of the first 
baron, Thomas Lord Somerville, created Baron of 
Scotland in 1396. From that time the lineage can 
be seen in an old " Burke " I have in my possession 
in Lowndes Square. 

Sir Gualter de Somerville was one of William the 
First's knights when he came over to England, and 
for his services was granted large estates in Staf- 
fordshire, including the Barony of Wichnour. 

Sir Roger de Somerville, the fifih from Sir 
Gualter, seems to have got into trouble with King 
John through joining the barons in their revolt, and 
temporarily had his estates forfeited in consequence. 

He had a son, John, whom he placed in the 
Court of Malcolm, King of Scotland, at the age of 
fourteen, in 1164. Here he gradually rose from 
page to the office of the King's falconer, and was 
knighted. At that time a prehistoric beast — known 
locally as a "worm " or " dragon "—was ravaging 


Roxburghshire, and was the terror of the country- 
side. Sir John decided to try his hand at the 
*' Worm,' and watched its goings forth and returns 
to its cave, until he at last determined how he would 
attack it. 

It always came out of its cave in the early morn, 
and he settled a day in 1 174 (he being then twenty- 
four years old), for his adventure. Accompanied by 
a trusty servant, he armed himself with a long 
spear, and affixed a wheel about a foot from the 
point. To this he attached tow, dipped in some 
inflammable fluid, and at a given moment, when 
the beast was well away from the cave, he mounted 
his horse, his servant set fire to the tow, and he 
charged straight at the lieast, who opened his 
mouth, and received the fiery wheel and lance down 
his throat. The lance was broken by the shock, 
and the worm retreated to its den, upraising the 
cave in its death struggles, causing it to fall upon 
it and complete its destruction. 

For this deed, Somerville was granted the lands 
and barony of Lintoun in 1174. 

Over the parish church door he had an efligy of 
himself in the act of charging the " Worm," cut in 
stone, and it is there to this day, and the " Worm's 
Glen " retains the memory of his deed. 

The Somerville coat-of-arms bears for its crest 
a dragon spouting fire, standing on a wheel. 

Sir John Somerville married Elizabeth, daughter 
of Sir Robert Oliphant, of Cesseford, Teviotdale, 
and on the death of his father, Roger, went to 
England, at the age of sixty-four, to try and recover 
his father's forfeited estates, but failed to do so. 

However, on the accession of Al^exander II of 
Scotland in 1214, and the death of King John, he 
was more fortunate, and the English estates were 
restored to him in time to provide that they should 


go to his eldest son, Robert, and that his second 
son, William, should inherit the estate of Lintoun. 
William may therefore be regarded as the founder 
of the Scottish branch of Somerville. 

Robert married in the fifteenth year of Edward 
I's reign, Isabella, daughter and co-heir of Sir 
Roger de Merley, a great Baron of Northumber- 
land ; and the English branch of Somerville, in 
addition to their own properties, thus acquired 
Inncastle, Newbolte, Brideshouse, Sir Scotcur- 
burgh and Edinghall in Staffordshire, while North- 
umberland contributed Witune, Wingates Horsley 
and Stoctu in the county of Ware. 

He was succeeded by his son Roger in the 
twenty-fifth year of Edward I, and who was Sheriff 
of Yorkshire and Governor of the Castle of York in 
Edward II's reign. 

Roger was succeeded by his son Roger, the ninth 
of Wichnour, and who was created a peer of Eng- 
land. On his death the title and estates devolved 
upon his brother. Sir Philip. 

This gentleman had no son, and the English 
Peerage became extinct ; but his estate went to his 
two daughters, one of whom, Maude, married John 
Trafford, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, and the 
other married Edmund Vernon, father of Sir 
Richard, who was executed by Henry IV fo 
espousing the cause of Richard II. 

The family, therefore, appeared to be extinct so 
far as the name was concerned in England. But 
there still remained the descendants of a younger 
son of Roger, the third Baron of Wichnour, 
who had received from his father the Barony of 
Aston in Gloucestershire, and which to-day bears 
the name of Aston Somerville, or Somerville Aston, 
near Evesham. 

It was through this branch that the English 


Somervilles preserved their name until it reached 
William Somcrville, of Eadstone, Warwickshire, 
and Somerville Aston. Me was a well-known 
minor poet, and author of " The Chase." 

In 1730 he settled his estates upon James, the 
thirteenth Lord Somerville, in consideration of 
certain money grants, and died unmarried, the last 
of the English Somervilles, in 1742. 

In the meantime, William, second son of Sir 
John Somerville (who acquired the parish and 
lands of Lintoun by exterminating the " Worm " in 
1 1 74), founded the .Scottish branch of the family, 
and married Margaret, heiress of Newbiggin, by 
whom he had a son, vSir Walter, who married Eftle, 
sister of Sir David Barclay, in 1262. 

Their second son, Sir John, succeeded as fourth 
of Lintoun, and married Elizabeth Douglas, of 
Loudoun Hall, Kinnoul, Carnwarth and Calder- 
clear, and brought him the lands and town of Carn- 
warth and Cowthally Castle. 

Their eldest son James was killed at the battle of 
Durham, 1346, so the second son. Sir Walter, fifth 
of Lintoun, succeeded. 

He married Janet Preston, daughter of Sir 
Thomas Preston of Craig Miller, and after her 
death married Gillies Herring, daughter of Sir 
John Herring, who brought as her marriage por- 
tion half the lands of Gilmerton, Midlothian — the 
lands of Drum and Gutters being part of them. 

There do not appear to have been any children 
of this marriage, but there were hve children of the 
marriage with Janet Preston, the eldest of whom. 
Sir John, succeeded as sixth of Lintoun in 1380, 
and married the daughter of Sir John Edmonstone, 
who brought him the estate of Cambusnethan. 

He died in 1405, and his eldest son, Thomas, 
married Marv Sinclaire, sisicr of Sir William 
\ - 6 

Sinclaire, Earl of Orkney and Laird of Roslayon. 

Sir Thomas Somerville was the twelfth from Sir 
Gualter de Somerville, the seventh of Lintoun, the 
fourth of Carnvvarth, the second of Cambusnethan 
and the first Lord Somerville, being summoned to 
Parliament under the title of a Lord of Parliament 
by King James the First of Scotland in the first 
Parliament of his reign. 

He was one of the Ambassadors sent to England 
in 1422 to treat for the ransom of that King. 

He is also named among the Wardens of the 
Border in 1424. 

The Family of Head 

THE family of Head is of remote antiquity 
in Kent, and, like many English surnames, 
derives its origin from the place vviiere the 
family lived. In this instance, the spelling of the 
name was formerly De Hethe, signifying that the 
family originated in the famous Cinque Port of 
Hythe, which at that time was spelt Hethe. From De 
Hethe it was an easy transition to De Hede, as it 
appeared in the 14th century, and the subsequent 
dropping of the prefix " de " left Hede to be trans- 
formed into Head by the end of the 15th century. 
A second survival of the original form of the name 
may be found in the Kentish family of D'aeth, 
which is presumably a branch of the original stock 
of De Hethe. 

In 1609 there was born, as second son of Richard 
Head, Esq., of Raynham, Kent, Richard, upon 
whom a baronetcy was conferred by Charles II, 
June 19, 1676. 

Sir Richard Head married twice, and in both 
cases he married an heiress. 

His iirst wife was Elizabeth, daughter and co- 
heiress of Francis Merrick, of Rochester, by which 
marriage he acquired a considerable part of 
Rochester. Sir Richard also owned a fleet of 
merchant vessels, which was probably derived 
from the same source. 

He married, secondly, Elizabeth Whittey, of 
Wrotham, Kent, who also brought him consider- 
able property. 


He was Mayor of Rochester, and sat for that 
borough in three Parliaments, including the Long 
Parliament. His signature is to be seen con- 
stantly recurring in the Municipal Records cf 

Sir Richard built a country residence about five 
miles out of Rochester, near Gads Hill, which he 
named "The Hermitage." This residence is in 
existence to-day, with Sir Richard Head's coat-of- 
arms in the ceiling. The grounds are laid out in 
the Italian fashion of the day. The estate at that 
time embraced some 5,000 acres. 

The memory of Sir Richard Head is still kept 
alive by an annual dole of bread to the poor people 
of Rochester, under his will. He presented a fine 
house close to the river-side at Rochester to the 
Church of England for the purpose of providing a 
residence for the Bishop of Rochester. This 
residence has since been sold by the Church of 
England, and the purpose of Sir Richard Head's 
gift thereby defeated. 

In the side chapel of Rochester Cathedral may 
be seen the effigy of Sir Richard Head over his 
tomb, where also many other of his descendants 
are buried, in company with Charles Dickens, 
General Gordon, and other celebrities. General 
Gordon was a friend of my grandfather, and 
presented him with one of the Yellow Jackets 
which had been bestowed upon him by the Em- 
peror of Ciiina for his services to that Empire. 
Before handing the Jacket to my grandfather, 
Gordon cut off one of the buttons, thereby depriv- 
ing the possessor of any rank attached to the 
ownership of the Jacket. 

Sir Richard Head was a strong supporter of the 

Stuarts, and when James II had to fly the country. 

Sir Richard received and concealed him in his 

- 9 B 

house at Rochester until he was able to send him 
out of the country in one of Sir Richard's own 
ships. James II presented him with an emerald 
ring in token of gratitude, which passed down the 
line of succeeding Head baronets until it reached 
Frances, only daughter and heiress of Francis 
Head, of St. Andrew's Hall, Norfolk, the grandson 
of the 4th Baronet, and the elder brother of James 
Roper Head, of "The Hermitage," Kent. 

This Miss Frances Head married, in 1806, the 
Hon. and Rev. George Herbert, fourth son of the 
first Earl of Carnarvon, and left an only daughter, 
Agnes Katinka Herbert — born 1S20 — whose resi- 
dence in 1913 is given in Debrett as 135 Avenue 
Victor Hugo, Paris. It is in this lady's possession 
that the ring is supposed to be. 

vSir Richard Head's eldest son, Francis, a 
barrister-at-law, married Sarah, only daughter of 
Sir George Ent. 

By his first marriage Sir Richard left a second 
son, Henry, who died without children ; and a 
third son, Merrick, D.D., whose daughter, Eliza- 
beth, married Theophilus del' Angle, Esq. He 
also left a daughter, Elizabeth, married to Sir 
Richard Faunce, Knight. 

vSir Richard Head had by his second wife a son, 
John, a merchant of London, who married Anne, 
daughter and co-heir of John Dawes, Esq., of 
London. John Head died in 1687, and it was 
through his descendants that, when Sir Richard's 
baronetcy — the original creation — became extinct, 
the North Carolina branch of the family claimed 
and were granted the baronetcy. 

Sir Richard I lead's eldest son, Francis, having 
predeceased hirr. in 1678, Sir Richard was suc- 
ceeded in 1689 hy his grandson, Sir Francis, as 
second baronet. This gentleman was of a very 


violent temper, and is said to have killed his valet 
at " The Hermitage " in a fit of p:.ssion. 

Sir Francis Head, 2nd baronet, married Mar- 
garet, daughter and co-heir of James Smythsbye, 
Esq., by whom he had a daughter who married 
Rev. William Egerton, Prebendary of Canterbury, 
and a son who succeeded as Sir Richard, 3rd 

Sir Richard died, unmarried, in 1721, when 
the title devolved upon his brother, the Rev. Sir 
Francis Head, the 4th baronet, who married, in 
1726, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir William 
Boys, and died in 1768, leaving three daughters as 
his co-heirs — 

Maria Wilhelmina, married to Henry Roper, 
who succeeded as nth Lord Teynham, and died 


Anna Gabriella, who married, first, Moses Men- 
dez, of London, and, secondly. Captain the Hon. 
John Roper, and died 1771 (her sons by the first 
marriage assumed their mother's name of Head) ; 

Elizabeth Campbell, married to Rev. Dr. Lill. 

The baronetcy then fell into abeyance until a 
descendant of John, fourth son of Sir Richard, ist 
baronet, who had settled in North Carolina, hap- 
pened to visit England, and overheard in the coach 
from Rochester to London, as it passed *'The 
Hermitage," that although the estates had fallen 
to the three daughters of the Rev. Sir Francis, 
there was no one to claim the title. He at once put 
forward his claim, which he proved, and the title 
went through him till it reached Sir Edmund 
Walker Head, 8th baronet, who was Governor- 
General of Canada from 1854 to 1863. At his 
death — his only son, John, having been drowned in 
Canada — the title of the first creation became extinct. 

1 1 

In the meantime the three heiresses of the Rev. 
Sir Francis had all found their husbands before he 
died, the eldest marrying the nth Lord Teynham 
*n 1753 J vvhile the second, by name Anna Gabri- 
ella, married, the same year, Moses Mendez, 
grandson of Fernando Mendez, who came from 
Portugal as Court Physician to Catherine of 
Braganza on her marriage with Charles II. He 
was a very handsome man, artistic in music and 
poetry, and produced several plays which were 
acted on the London stage. 

The family of Mendez belonged to the exclusive 
and aristocratic Sephardims who settled in Spain 
during the reign of Solomon, about 1000 B.C. 
These were Israelites, belonging to what are now 
known as the Lost Tribes ; but they had settled in 
Spain nearly 300 years before Shalmanezer, King 
of Assyria, carried away the parent stock in 720 
B.C. Although the latter never returned to Pales- 
tine, some of them seem to have settled in Afghan- 
istan, where the most numerous tribe is to-day known 
as Ben-i-Israel. Others appear to have scattered to 
the shores of the Black Sea, whence the Vikings of 
Scandinavia claim their origin in their Sagas, and 
which is also supported by the inlaid Eastern 
workmanship on their arms and in their jewelry. 

The Sephardims, or Sepharvaims, as the word 
appears in the Bible, are referred to on the occasion 
of the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 
588 B.C., when he summoned the Jews to surrender, 
asking them if the God of the Sepharvaims had 
been able to deliver Samaria — i.e., the Israelites — 
from his hands. The Spanish colony of the Sep- 
hardims prospered with the prosperity of Spain, 
and about the year 1000 B.C. we find they were the 
chief administrators and leaders in science, physic, 
the law, music, as well as in statesmanship and 


finance in that country. They held themselves as 
entirely separate from the French, German, Polish 
and Russian Jews, and regarded usury with abhor- 
rence. They lived rich and prosperously to the 
benefit of Spain until about 1450, when religious 
fervour (urged on by the hope of plunder) suddenly 
blazed out, and a demand for their massacre, expul- 
sion or conversion brought their beneficent influence 
in Spain to an end, and established the power of 
the Inquisition in its place. Some escaped to Por- 
tugal, where their condition was not so desperate, 
and many families there retained their positions. 
Among them was that of Mendes da Costa, a 
famous Grandee family, wiiose coat-of-arms des- 
cribes by the broken bones the name of Costa — a rib 
— while the royal descent from the House of David 
is signified by the crest of an Eastern crown. 
It was a descendant of this noble family of musi- 
cians, scholars, physicians and lovers of art and 
science — Moses Mendez— who married the second 
daughter and co-heiress of Sir Francis Head, and 
was theprogenitor of the Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Bond 
Head, Bart., P.C, Governor of Upper Canada, and 
his descendants. 

Although Oliver Ci omweli had allowed the return 
of the Jews into Enghmd, there still existed, as to- 
day, a popular prejudice against them, and Anna 
Gabriella Head was naturally anxious that her sons 
should not suffer as a consequence of her marriage. 
She accordingly obtained royal licence for the heirs 
of her body to assume the name of Head. Anna 
Gabriella married secondly Captain the Hon. John 
Roper, son of the tenth Lord Teynham.* 

*The orig-'inal surname of the aiicieiil Ki-ntish family of Roper 
was iMusard, from whicli it wa.s chanifcd to Rubra SpHtha, tlien 
to Rospcare, Rouspei', Rooprr, Ropore, and fiiirdly Uiiper. 
Henry, tlie Pili Haii.)n Tejiiliain \\;is the to conform to the 
Established Churcli of En^i;^land, and took his seal in Parliament, 
2(jih February, 1716. 


The elder son of Moses Mendez and Anna 
Gabriella Head, Francis, married, 1779, Justina 
Maria, co-heir of Sir Thomas Stepney, Bart., and 
left one. daughter only — Frances, born 1780, who 
married the Hon. and Rev. George Herbert (son 
of Earl of Carnarvon), and died 1852. 

Francis lived and died at St. Andrew's Hall, Nor- 
folk, and was a martyr to gout. 

The second son, James Roper Head, born in 
1757 (Lord Teynham had married the elder sister, 
Maria Wilhclmina, and the introduction of the 
family name of Roper infers that he was James 
Roper's godfather) was a man of lofty ideals, ex- 
tremely imaginative and poetic. His dreams of 
establishing a perfect brotherhood among mankind 
led him into joining the association of Jacobins, an 
English party of enthusiasts, who saw in the 
French Revolution promise of the fulfilment of 
their ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Fired 
with ardour at what looked like the realization of 
his dreams, James Roper Head crossed to Paris. 
Here he disappeared, and is supposed to have 
perished in the Revolution. 

After his disappearance in this manner, an 
attempt was made by another branch of the family 
to lay claim to the estates of " The Hermitage." The 
result of this was that the estates were thrown into 
Chancery, and remained there for thirty years, at 
the end of which time a verdict in favour of James 
Roper Head's eldest son, Sir George, gave him no 
alternative but to sell the property and pay the 
Chancery costs, after which he was left with a 
balance in his favour of about ;^8,ooo. 

James Roper Head married, in 1781, Frances 
Anne, daughter of George Burges, by his wife Anne 
Wichnour, only daughter of James, thirteenth Lord 


A romantic story attaches to the marriag-e of 
George Burges, which is fully set out in the "Bland 
Burges Papers," of which there is a copy in Lowndes 
Square, and another at Inverailort. George Burges 
was a young cornet in the English army at the 
battle of Cullodea in 1745, and there captured 
Prince Charlie's standard from its bearer, the Duke 
of Atholl, which standard is to be seen hanging in 
the hall at Beauport, in Sussex, to this day. 

In Edinburgh he met Anne Wichnour, Lord 
Somerville's only daughter, and they became mutu- 
ally attached ; but, knowing the opposition Lord 
Somerville would make to such a match, they deci- 
ded tobe married secretly. This was rather diflicult, 
as the marriage would have to take place at night, 
and Anne Wichnour slept in an inner chamber, be- 
yond that of her brother, in company with the 
housekeeper. However, George Burges possessed a 
sporting friend, who was to be best man at the 
marriage, and wi:o undertook to bring the lady out 
of the house. 

Accordingly, with the connivance of the butler, 
he entered at dead of night, passed through the 
room of the snoring brother, and found the lady 
ready dressed in her bed, but too terrified to move. 
He took a firm line, and said that if she did not 
come at once he would make a noise which would 
rouse her brother, and he would probably have to 
kill him in self-defence. Whereupon the lady 
yielded, and went down-stairs to the church, where 
she was duly married to George Burges, and 
returned to her father's home without anything 
being discovered. 

George Burges was shortly afterwards ordered to 
Gibraltar, where he was A.D.C. to the Governor, 
and remained for two years. About the end of that 
time the news of their marriage became known to 


Lord Somerville, who was furious, but impotent to 
undo it, and so at last became reconciled. 

Anne Wichnour was christened Wichnour from 
the estates granted to Sir Walter de Somerville, 
who came over with William I from Normandy as 
one of his knights. Some of the property re- 
mained in the elder, or English, branch of the 
Somerville family until this time, when the elder 
branch terminated with the poet William Somer- 
ville, who wrote "The Chase." He was hope- 
lessly in debt, very fond of hunting, and much 
given to drinking, so that the opportunity open to 
Lord Somerville to obtain the reversion of the 
Warwickshire estates, and those of Aston Somer- 
ville in Gloucestershire was too good a one to let 
pass, and was easily arranged by paying the poet 
an annuity sufficient to allow him to enjoy his 
pastimes in pCcice for the remainder of his life. 

There were three children as issue of the mar- 
riage between George Burges and Anne Wichnour 
Somerville : the eldest daughter Frances Anne, 
who married James Roper Head ; Maria Anne, 
who died unmarried ; and James Bland Burges, 
whose life is contained in the ** Bland Burges 

The latter became Under Secretary of State for 
Foreign Affairs, and was created a Baronet with 
the post of Knight Marshal of the Royal House- 
hold, with remainder to his son. 

In 1798, by the death of his friend Mr. John 
Lamb, he succeeded to his fortune and the estate 
of Beauport in Sussex, near Battle, and assumed 
the name of L?.mb, so that thereafter he was known 
as Sir James Lamb. 

When the estates of "The Hermitage" were 
thrown into Chancery by the disappearance of 
James Roper Head, Mrs. James Roper Head and 


her numerous family were left without a home or 
income, but her brother, Sir James Lamb, gener- 
ously received them all at Beauport, and educated 
and brought up the entire family. 

The eldest, George, was put into the Army, and 
was in the Commissariat Department in the Penin- 
sular War. He was a tall, powerful man, fond of 
boxing, at which lie was proficient. He wrote several 
books of travel, but he lacked imagination and liter- 
ary genius, and they are somewhat dull, prosaic 
reading. He lived much by rule, and used to write 
steadily for two hours at a time, with an enormous 
fob watch in front of him to mark off the exact 
performance of his duty. 

Upon the death of Sir James Lamb, his son, Sir 
Charles, became entitled to the dignity of Deputy 
Knight Marshal, but, being of an aesthetic turn, 
did not wish to challenge to mortal combat any 
who denied the right of \Villiam IV^ to reign, and 
consequently selected his pugnaciouscousin George 
to act for him. For the execution of this office he 
was knighted, and Sir George Head was again the 
challenger on the accession of Queen Victoria. 
He died, unmarried, in 1855. 

Tiie second son, James, entered the service of 
the Honble. East India Company, and was captain 
of one of the East Indiaman ships, which in those 
days represented a high post of honour, and was 
so lucrative that a captain's share of profit was 
estimated at ;[£, 10,000 a voyage. The captain was 
only allowed to hold his post for three voyages, at 
the end of which time he retired with ;^30,ooo, 
which in those days was regarded as a fortune. 

James married, in 1821, Cecilia, daughter of 
Hon. Robert Lindsay of Balcarres, and \yas on 
his third and last voyage when he entered a boat 
with two natives to go asb.ore in the Hooghly at 


Calcutta, and was never seen again. Whether the 
boat capsized and he was drowned, or whether he 
was murdered and robbed by the natives will never 
be known. He died at the age of thirty-four in 
1824, leaving an only daughter, Elizabeth, who 
married Sir Nathaniel Staples, Bart. 

In the " Bland Burges Papers" there is a letter 
from James Head to his uncle relating how a Mr. 
Pigott, an officer of the " London," unfortunately 
shot a Chinaman at Canton. The Chinese de- 
manded his surrender to them, but Pigott could 
not be found. However, it happened that a butcher 
on board the *' Duke of York " cut his throat in a 
fit of delirium. He was accordingly dressed in 
", uniform, and a report made to the Chinese that the 
delinquent had been found and secured, but had 
unfortunately made away with himself. The man- 
■ darins and police ofiicers duly inspected the body, 
and returned ashore satisfied. James Head re- 
marks that the bribing necessary to turn the poor 
butcher into a fifth mate would cost the Company 
nearly ;i£^5,ooo, but it was cheaper than being 
detained three or four months. 

It was James Head who brought home the five- 
claw green-and-red dragon china, the half of which 
I have in the drawing-room of Lowndes Square ; 
the other half is in the possession of my nephew, 
Sir Somerville Head. 

As the five-claw dragon was an emblem only 
used by the Emperor of China, it would have been 
death to have been caught in possession of it at the 
time James Head brought it home, and I do not 
know how he managed to do it. 

James Head was the favourite brother of my 
grandfather (Sir F. B. Head), and I was named 
by my grandfather after him. He specially stipu- 
lated that no other name but James should be 


given me, and in consequence of my being the 
only member of my family with but a single name, 
I was always referred to as " plain James." 

The name of James appears for the first time in 
the Head annals as James Roper Head, who dis- 
appeared at the time of the French revolution. 

The next was Captain James Head, of H.E.I. 
Co., who also disappeared, as related, while trying 
to land from his ship in the Hooghly at Calcutta. I 
am the third, and apparently likely to be the last 
of that name, but I have not disappeared as yet. 

The third son, Hugh, was put into the Navy, 
and retired with the rank of Commander ; he left 
no issue. 

The fourth was Francis Bond (of whom, anon). 

The fifth, Henry Erskine, was originally in the 
Navy, and was Midshipman on board the " Beller- 
ophon " when Napoleon Buonaparte surrendered 
to the English. He obtained an interesting and 
graphic sketch of Buonaparte, made by a 
Commissariat-General on board at the time, and 
which 1 have in my possession at Inverailort. 

Later, he left the Navy, and took orders in the 
Church of England, becoming Rector of Honiton, 
Devon. He apparently inherited the high ideals 
and love of mankind that were such a marked 
characteristic of his father, and so far exceeded the 
orthodox teachings of the English Church as to 
refuse his poor congregation the consolations of 
hell, saying that he could not bear to think that his 
dear people should be threatened with any such 
injustice. He was, in consequence, always in 
trouble with his Bishop and others, who regarded 
hell as a special prerogative, and the only means of 
keeping the poor in order. But they could not crush 
the charity in him, so ended by unfrocking him. 

He married Elizabeth Margaret, daughter of 

Christopher Flood, banker, of Honiton, and left 
an only daughter, Margaret, who married Rev. E. 
Geoghegan, and died 1908, leaving no issue. The 
two remaining members of James Roper Head's 
family were Mary Amelia, who married General 
Samuel Dalrymple,* Grenadier Guards, and died 
at Dunchurch Hall, 1854, leaving no children ; 
and Frances Anne, who died unmarried. 

The fourth son of James Roper Head was Francis 
Bond, born rst January, 1793, who, with his 
brothers and sisters, was brought up at Beauport, 
the beautiful seat of his uncle. Sir James Lamb. 

He was put into the Royal Engineers, and at the 
age of twenty-two found himself in the Army's 
expeditionary force against Napoleon, after his 
return from Elba. He managed to get himself put on 
the staff of General Ziegen, of the Prussian cavalry, 
and at the battle of Fleurus had his horse shot 
under him. He was left behind in his English 
uniform while the Prussian cavalry swept on. 
Wounded French and Prussians alike might regard 
him as an enemy, so he decided to try and reach 
Quatrebras, where the English were fighting. The 
easier to accomplish this, he took off his saddle 
and bridle and walked to a farmhouse and demanded 
a horse he saw grazing in a field. '* Ah ! but you 
cannot ride him ; nobody can ride him ! " No 
young Englishman can refuse such a challenge as 
that, so my grandfather went up to the horse, put 
the bridle and saddle on him and mounted. So 
far all seemed to look well. But the horse knew 

* General Samuel Dalrymple, born 1760, was second son of 
Sir William Dalrymple, 3rd Bart, of Courland, son of James of 
Borthwick, created a Bart, of Nova Scotia 1698 (28 April), who 
was second son of James Dalrymple of Stair, who was elevated 
to the Peerage 21 April, 1690, as Baron Glenluce and Stranraer 
and Viscount Stair. General Samuel Dalrymple married, as his 
second wife, in 1831, Mary Amelia, daughter of ^he late Jame 
Roper Head, oi " The Hermitage," Kent. 


the game, and refused to move. Whip and spur 
had no effect, and finally the horse sighed and lay- 

After that there was no further argument, and 
my grandfather set out on foot ; but night fell, and 
he had to sleep in a barn with wounded and fugi- 
tives of all armies. 

The following day he walked to Brussels, ob- 
tained a fresh horse and a change from a friend, 
had his supper, and turned in dog-tired. Some 
time during the night they called at his door, and 
told him the English army was marching out of 
Brussels, but he was quite tired enough not to 
believe it, and slept on till eight o'clock, when he 
got up and found it was true ! 

He followed on his horse the road taken by our 
troops, till he met the Belgian Army, who informed 
him that Napoleon had won the day, all was lost, 
and that the English were beaten. " Well, you do 
not seem much hurt, anyhow," said he, and rode 
on, reporting himself to Wellington about three or 
four o'clock. 

He married next year his second cousin, Julia 
Valenza, sister of Kenelm, 17th Lord Somerville, 
who brought a dot of ^20,000. Her diary of their 
crossing to form part of the army of occupation in 
France, and of their life there during that time, is 
in my possession at Inverailort, and is most inter- 
esting reading. 

My grandmother received the name of Valenza 
on account of being born on the anniversary of the 
capture of Valenza d'Alcantara, a Spanish town, 
by her father, Colonel the Hon. Hugh Somerville, 
brother of James, 14th Lord Somerville. 

In May, 181 7, during the time of the occupation 
of France by the European Powers, the eldest son 
of Francis Bond Head was born at Cambrai, and 


was christened Frank (not Francis) Somerville 

His father remained in the Royal Engineers till 
he reached the rank of Major, and during the time 
he was stationed at Edinburgh distinguished him- 
self by his skill in bringing down, without damage 
to any of the surrounding property which it threat- 
ened, a high wall which had been left standing 
alone after a fire had destroyed the rest o{ the 

As Captain Head he also had charge of the cere- 
monies attending the visit of George IV to Edin- 

In 1825 he was invited to take charge of the 
mining properties of the Rio Plata Mining Associa- 
tion, and sailed with his family to Buenos Aires. 
From there he rode across the Pampas to the Cor- 
dilleras and Chili, in which the properties were 
situated, but ended by reporting against them, and 
returning home the following year. 

The story of his rides across tiie Pampas is told 
in his book, " Rough Notes taken on the Pampas," 
which met with a great success in England, and 
earned for him the soubriquet of "Galloping- 

He was only thirty-two at the time, and a light 
weight, being barely 5 ft. 6 in. in height, with very 
fair pink and white skin, curly hair, blue eyes, and a 
perfect set of teeth which lasted him, without one 
of them being so much as stopped, till the day of 
his death at 82^. 

I remember some years before his death he told 
me that he had just come from his Quaker dentist, 
who had been polishing up his teeth for him, and 
the Quaker's remark was : " Friend, thy teeth will 
long outlast thy body." 

The distance is about 1,000 miles from Buenos 

Aires to Mendoza, at the foot of the Andes, and 
this was covered by him in shorter time than 
the galloping post. He used to ride with a few 
gauchos, and from thirty to seventy loose horses in 
front, galloping the whole way, and only stopping 
for a few minutes to exchange their saddles on to 
fresh horses from the herd they drove before them. 
During these rides he crossed the Pampas four 
times. He lived on nothing but dried beef and 
water, so I daresay his excellent teeth came in 

On his return from South America, Captain Head, 
as he then was, had to face a storm raised by those 
shareholders who felt themselves aggrieved at the 
loss of their money, and therefore wished to dis- 
credit him and his report condemning the pro- 

He successfully weathered the storm, and his 
services received recognition in the award to him 
by the arbitrators of ^4,800. 

The success which greeted his "Rough Notes 
Across the Pampas" encouraged him to venture 
further upon a literary path, and he became known 
as the autiior of several books, the one which pro- 
bably brought him most fame being "The Bubbles 
of Brunnen," published in 1834 The book was 
a description of the life at a little German vilhu^e 
called Schwalbach, at that time quite unknown in 
I'^ngland, but where Sir Francis had gone to take 
its strong tonic waters. The publication of his 
book attracted so many visitors to Schwalbach tiiat 
the town council erected a bust of Sir l<>ancis in 
the Pump room, in recognition of the debt of 
thanks due to him from the iniiabitants of vSchwal- 
bach for having made their town so famous. He 
was created Knight Commander of H,ano\er, and 
thenceforth was known as Sir h'rancis Head. 


He was acting as Poor Law Cocnmissioner for 
Kent, where his administration was signally suc- 
cessful, when he received the call to fill the difficult 
post of Governor of Upper Canada. 

In those days there were two Canadas— Upper 
and Lower. 

Lower Canada consisted almost entirely of in- 
habitants of French origin, while Upper Canada 
had been settled by the loyalists who had managed 
to escape from the United States at the time of the 
War of Independence of that country. At that time 
many loyalists were massacred, others tarred and 
feathered, or otherwise insulted and attacked, so 
that the remainder who escaped carried a bitter 
hatred of the Yankee with them to Canada. 

On his arrival, Sir Francis soon realised that the 
bulk of the people in Upper Canada were intensely 
Conservative and loyal to the throne, in spite of the 
attempt to spread a spirit of rebellion which was 
being fostered by certain members of the House of 
Assembly, which in the form of "Grievances" had 
been forwarded to King William IV, and consti- 
tuted the main difficulty of the situation. 

It was feared that a rebellion would break out in 
Canada, that the French oi Lower Canada would 
rise, and that the United States would attempt to 
cajole Canada into becoming a part of the States. 
As an indication that the hand of the Yankees was 
at work, a ship, the " Caroline," lay in the St. Law- 
rence River at Toronto, the seat of the Government 
of Upper Canada, laden with arms and ammunition 
for the rebels, awaiting tiie moment when they 

should rise. 

The"Carolinc" flew the Stars and Stripes, and Sir 

Francis protested to Washington against this in- 
fringementofthetreatyof 1812, which forbade armed 
vessels of the United States in the St. Lawrence. 

Washington repudiated the "Caroline" as not 
belonging to the Federal Government, whereupon 
Sir Francis had the vessel "cut out " one night, set 
fire to, and sent over Niagara Falls. 

For this the Yankees of the State of New York 
swore to hang him if ever he came across the St. 
Lawrence. In the meantime, iu order to ensure the 
safety of Lower Canada, he had sent all his troops 
there to the Governor, Sir John Colborne, and 
threw his entire reliance upon the loyalty of his 

The rising that took place immediately after the 
burning of the " Caroline" was promptly answered 
by the rallying of the militia round Sir Francis, who 
headed them, and after some sharp fighting com- 
pletely crushed the movement. 

The defeated members of the Assembly then 
crossed to England, and agitated for their reforms 
with both ministers and members of the Opposition. 

In the absence of Sir Francis at his post in 
Canada, the Government found great difficulty in 
meeting all the insidious charges of his enemies, 
and feared that the Ministry nnght even fall under 
the attacks of the Opposition. 

They accordingly suggested to Sir Francis that 
he should save them by retiring, and in due course, 
after all had blown over, he should receive his 
reward in a peerage and a pension. 

Sir Francis was not a politician, and had learned 
by this time to dislike the position of Governor. 
For it was brought home to him that he was not to 
govern in accordance with the wishes of the people, 
but in such a manner as would best keep his party 
at home in office. 

This position, to a man of his lofty character, 
was intolerable, and he agreed gladly to retiring 
The offers of future reward he treated with scorn, 


and said that all he wished for was to be justified in 
his actions in the sight of his countrymen, and this 
he claimed the right to be on liis return. 

Having sent his family home, he remained only 
until he could relieve himself of his office in due 
order, but by this time the St. Lawrence was closed 
as an exit, and the only alternative was to afford the 
Yankees their opportunity of hanging him by 
going to New York. 

He accordingly crossed the St. Lawrence, and 
set out alone on horseback to ride to Albany. Once 
there, he would be beyond the region of his sworn 
foes. Halting at a wayside inn, he ordered food, 
and while at his meal the landlord came in and 
looked at him and promptly said : " Are you Sir 
Francis Head?" " Yes," replied Sir Francis, show- 
ing the butts of his pistols. "Sir Francis Bond 
Head?" ask«d the innkeeper, reading from a print 
of him hanging over the mantelpiece. " Yes," re- 
plied Sir Francis. " Ah ! " said the innkeeper, and 
walked out of the room. 

Presently Sir Francis heard the sound of depart 
ing hoofs as the innkeeper rode away to summon 
the neighbours. Sir Francis paid his bill and went 
to the stables, mounted his horse, and rode quietly 

Presently he was aware of galloping horses 
behind him, but being a light weight on a thorough- 
bred horse, he kept them easily at a distance, till 
their horses gradually became blown, and the pur 
suit fell off. 

He reached Albany without further adventure, 
and returned vui New York. He told me that the 
news of the pursuit reached the Duke of Welling- 
ton, who remarked : " Riding after Galloping 
Head, are they, to hang him? Well, then, by 
God, they won't catch him?" 


On his return, he demanded that, in justification 
of his action in Canada, the despatches which had 
passed between him and Lord Glenelg should be 
laid before Parliament. Despatches were accord- 
ingly laid on the table of the House, but the more 
important ones constituting his defence were 

Sir Francis' reply to this injustice was to publish 
the whole of the despatches in book form. This at 
once turned the tide of public opinion in his favour, 
and caused great indignation at the treatment he 
had received. But it naturally estranged his Party 
from him, and his public career was closed. 

As a recognition of his services, he was created a 
baronet in 1838, and thirty years later made a 
member of the Privy Council, as a tardy acknow- 
ledgment of the debt due to him. 

His name still lives in veneration in Upper 
Canada, and so late as 1900, when I was there, I 
was entertained by men who were boys at the time 
of the rebellion, and who looked back upon his 
short career as Governor with an enthusiasm that 
showed how deep a grip Sir Francis had obtained 
on the affections of the loyal Canadians. 

He retired to Oxendon, a village near Market 
Harborough, where he passed his life in hunting 
with the Pytchley and other packs during the 
winter, and in literary pursuits, contributing articles 
to the Quarterly Review, and bringing out a book 
at intervals, until he thought he was getting too old 
to hunt, when he moved to Croydon, and there 
passed the evening of his life. 

While there, at about the age of 78, he was 
jumping a horse over a stile, and met with a fall 
which broke a rib. He wrote to a friend describing 
how it happened, and pointing out " the danger of 
not hunting," for '* if I had been hunting," said he, 


" neither I nor my horse would have been so care- 
less as to come to g-rief." 

He died from a chill caught riding at the age of 
82^, in July, 1875. At that time his wife was lying 
desperately ill, and expected to die, but recovered. 
Sir Francis had prepared a double-headed tomb- 
stone for the two of them, which he kept in his 
stables. On each slab was engraved the name of 
one of them, leaving the date of death to be filled 
in. Across the double slab at the bottom of the two 
inscriptions was written : *' In life and death united." 
The tombstone had to be erected over Sir Francis* 
grave at his death, but three years elapsed before 
it could be described as recording a truthful epitaph. 

Sir Francis was of a highly poetic temperament, 
with a great love for nature and all that was noble 
in man. He was a versatile and witty writer, with 
a facile pen, and as such met with great popularity 
in an age suffering from the ponderosity of its 

During the time of his marriage engagement, 
Miss Somerville accidentally swallowed some nitrate 
of silver, which had the effect of turning her com- 
plexion almost blue. She at once wrote to him and 
said that, of course, under the unfortunate circum- 
stances she must release him of his engagement. 
To this he replied with gallantry : " My love for 
you is not skin deep." 

They were a devoted couple all their lives, and he 
used to say of her : " If you wish to hear good 
English spoken, you must listen to your grand- 
mother." She had been brought up in England by 
her Aunt Maria Barges, sister of Sir James Bland 
Burges, who was a lady of exceptional talents and 
education, and left behind her a wonderful book of 
paintings of butterflies she caught, painted and 
released, now in possession of my brother Francis. 


The eldest son of Sir Francis Bond Head was 
born 26 May, 181 7, at Cambrai in France, and was 
christened Frank Sonierville Head. 

He went to Charterhouse (then near St. Bar- 
tholomew's Hospital in the City) and afterwards to 
Haileybury, which was at that time the College for 
young men entering the service of the Honourable 
East India Company, which in those days adminis- 
tered India, and was known in the East as "John 
Company." Even to-day the East India Civil 
Service is an attractive one, but in the days of 
"John Company" it offered such rewards that a 
parent would consider his son's career made if he 
could obtain a nomination and pass his exami- 

The life at Haileybury modelled itself on that 
at the 'Varsities, with the difference that the " men " 
at Haileybury were onl\' from sixteen to eighteen 
years old. Among other pranks and amusements, 
they had a coach which they took it in turn to 
drive, and as my father said, "sometimes they 
upset, and sometimes they didn't." He was sum- 
moned to appear before the Dean on one occasion 
for having entertained a noisy and riotous crew in 
his rooms on the previous night. Asked by the 
Dean to inform him how many men were in his 
room, he replied that he could not exactly say ; 
and when finally pressed, replied, "About two or 

On reaching eighteen my father, Frank Somer- 
ville Head, passed his final exam, at Haileybury, 
and shortly afterwards set sail for India, to go 
round the Cape. While passing through the 
Downs a gale drove the ship before it, and she 
would not answer the helm, but drifted steadily 
towards the Goodwin Sands until they saw its 
breakers through the darkness. 


Just then the mate realized that a rope, hanging 
over the side, represented a small river anchor at 
the other end, which was causing the ship to refuse 
to answer her helm. He snatched an axe from 
under the bulwarks, and with a single chop the 
rope parted, and the ship came round and shot out 
to sea in comparative safety. 

My father had bought himself a pair of pistols 
(which I still have) and a life-belt. The life-belt 
he gave one shilling for, and it was guaranteed to 
save one person— if he wanted to save two he must 
pay IS. 6d. for one, the shopman told him. 

My father was a frugal man, and replied that he 
had no desire to save anybody but himself. 

Arrayed in the life-belt, with his pistols to pro- 
tect him, he was approached by an old Scotchman, 
who appeared to consider the prospects the worst 

*' Yes," remarked my father, ' it's a naughty 
night to swim in,' as Shakespeare says." 

** Young man, yer'd better be reading yer Bible 
than quoting from they play-books," reproved the 
old Scottie. 

My father, however, continued to enjoy the wild 
gale until they had driven under bare poles to 
Harwich, when he went ashore and ran over to 
Cambridge to be in time for a town and gown row, 
which in those days was an annual event. He 
allowed himself to be caught by the Proctors, who 
were much disappointed when they found he was 
not a member of any College. 

The voyage was then resumed, and six months 
later he landed in India, and shortly went to Allah- 
abad, where he was well received by the Governor, 
who was a friend of his father's. 

He had to pass an examination in Hindustanee, 
and sent his paper out to a pundit, who put the 


English into good Hindustani, and returned it. 
The English professor's comment on the translation 
was that it was very good, though perhaps not 
quite sufficiently idiomatic ! 

He constantly dined with a certain old judge, 
who took a fancy to him, and always had a knife 
and fork laid for him. One day he said to my 
father, " When I first came out here, and for many 
years, my salary was ;i£^i5o a year. One day, how- 
ever, the Company notified me that my salary had 
been raised to ;i^5,ooo a year ! and I was very sorry 
to hear it." This probably marked the end of the 
era of what was known as "shaking the pagoda 
tree," and initiated the principle of purity among 
officials in Indian administration. 

In due course my father received a fine appoint- 
ment in the Terai, where he lived principally in 
tents, moving through the country and assessing 
its value for taxation. He also held a court every 
morning for the redress of grievances. His work 
and administration during his seven years in India 
were highly regarded by the authorities, and re- 
ceived their marked approbation ; but when he 
applied for a still higher post he was told that he 
already held the highest possible for a young man 
of twenty-six, and that he must grow older before 
hoping for further promotion. 

He accordingly applied for leave, saying he 
could more comfortably grow older in England, 
and went home. 

There he shortly after married the eldest daughter 
of Robert Garnett, of Wyreside, a lady who 
brought him a handsome dowry, and whose parents 
would not hear of the young couple returning to 
India, so his career there, which promise;d to be a 
brilliant one, was closed. 

In India he used frequently to indulge in the 


sport of pig-sticking in the early morning, and on 
one occasion, on his return, he was met by a waihng 
company, who cried out for justice. They brought 
the body of their father to show him, saying : "Oh, 
protector of the poor, they have killed him ! Jus- 
tice, friend of the weak ! Our prop and support is 
taken from us ! See, they have killed him ! " " Who 
has killed him ? "demanded my father, regarding 
thestiff drawn body with nothing on but his loin- 

"The enemy, the enemy have killed him ! Jus- 
tice, oh, protector of the widow and orphan ! " 

"Well," said my father, "he does seem pretty 
dead, certainly," at the same time driving half an 
inch of his boar spear into the body. Whereupon 
a miracle happened, and the corpse jumped up 
with a howl, and ran for his life. 

On another occasion, a well-to-do native came to 
him, saying that he wished to consult him as to the 
course which he should pursue. " I have been 
thinking it over, sahib, and I cannot understand 
why you English, who are so few, while we are so 
many, are able to rule over us, and I have come to 
the conclusion that it must be on account of your 
religion. Tell me, therefore, if you think I had 
better not become a Christian? " 

"You would gain nothing by becoming a Chris- 
tian," replied my father. " You would become a 
pariah among your own people, and ours would 
not receive you into their arms. You wonder why 
we who are so few can maintain our supremacy 
over you, but it is not far to seek. We can trust 
one another, and so are firmly united together, 
while every man of you distrusts the other, because 
none of you ever speak the truth. Believe me, that 
if you would all learn to speak the truth, we should 
not be able to remain in India another day." 


The native sighed and thought for a moment 
before he replied : "What you say, sahib, is very 
true. No doubt we ought to speak the truth, but — 
it is very difficult." 

He was a very good shot, and excited the ad- 
miration of the beaters, and when bird after bird 
fell to his gun, he heard one say to another : 
" Whatever the sahib shoots at dies," to which the 
other piously added the amendment: "Whatever 
the sahib shoots at is hit, but whether it dies or not 
is the will of Allah." On one occasion a flock of 
parrots flew over him, and he fired both barrels, 
knocking over half-a-dozen. Immediately every 
beater ran to pick up a bird and cut its throat with 
the words: " All'il Allah," to make it clean for 
eating. As none of the birds were dead, the next 
sight was that of each beater howling with a parrot 
fastened to his hand. That was bad enough for 
the poor beaters, but it was further aggravated by 
the declaration of a pious man among them that 
the bird, having only four claws, was a bird of prey, 
and therefore unclean. 

My father said that in India, if a man wrote a 
book he would take it to a learned pundit and say : 
" Lo ! I have written a book. Tell me now, there- 
fore, what is the meaning of it." Upon receiving 
the explanation, he would take it to a still more 
learned pundit and say: " Lo ! I have written a 
book, and here is the interpretation thereof. Now 
tell me, I beseech you, what is its hidden mean- 

My father knew Lord Macaulay in India, who 
was celebrated for his wonderful power of memor- 
izing. In describing a journey, Lord Macaulay 
mentioned that he was delayed for two hours by a 
torrent of rain, during which time he took refuge in 
a Dork bungalow. 


" How did you amuse yourself during that time? 
asked my father. 

"Well," said Lord Macaulay, " I read * Soyer' 
Book of Cookery,' which was the only literature 

"What was the good of that?" said my father. 
*' You don't remember any of the recipes, do you?'' 

" Oh, yes, indeed I do," said Lord Macaulay, 
and proceeded to reel off recipe after recipe, until 
my father asked him to stop and talk of something 

Although in those days the practice of Suttee, 
or burning of the widow of the deceased husband 
at his funeral, was forbidden by the English edict, 
it was still practised to a great extent in certain 
parts of India, and one day my father heard that a 
Suttee was to take place in his district. He ac- 
cordingly rode there, and took up a commanding 
position. The people became angry, and sent 
some of their leaders to know if he intended to 
prevent it. 

He replied: "No, you can burn the widow if 
you like, but as it will constitute a crime of murder 
under the British law, I wish to see who performs 
the act, so as to have him hanged in due course." 
There was no candidate offering for the gallows, 
and the crowd melted away and left the woman 

On another occasion, riding down from the hills 
to Bombay, he was walking through the streets, 
accompanied by his Sikh retainer, when a native 
bumped into him. Instantly the Sikh had the man 
by the beard, forced him on to his knees and, 
with his sword drawn, turned to my father. 

"Shall I kill him. Sahib?" 

His life in India was not only full of good and 
useful work, but was interspersed with the best of 


sport. In addition to pig-sticking, he had excep- 
tional advantages for tiger-hunting, for, as he 
passed from camp to camp, word would come in 
from the neighbouring Rajah that there were some 
fine tigers not far away, and that he would send 
his elephants for the Sahib's use the following 
morning. In this manner, shooting from a howdah 
on the back of the elephant, he killed some magnifi- 
cent tigers, and I still have in Lowndes Square two 
exceptionally fine skulls of the beasts killed by him. 

His life in India, where he had power of life and 
death in his district, naturally developed in him an 
autocratic spirit and line of thought, which lasted 
throughout his life in greater or less degree, and 
was the cause of estrangement from several mem- 
bers of his family. 

But he was an upright and fearless English 
gentleman, with a high code of honour and a lover 
of truth. 

Nothing could better indicate how much import- 
ance he attached to this virtue than the beautiful 
words he caused to be engraved on his daughter 
Mary's tomb, the stone of which represents an open 
Bible, and may be seen at the cemetery outside 
Christchurch, Hants, and which runs as follows : 

BENEATH ^:^Ui350O 







BORN SEPT. 18, 1847. DIED DEC. 22, 1864. 


To a straightforward man he was always kind 
and considerate, but to a shuffler he showed no 
mercy. In appearance he was a handsome man 
with a remarkably fine set of teeth, brown wavy 
hair, a fresh complexion and blue eyes, and stood 
about 5 ft. 10 in., though his fine carriage made 
him look taller. 

He was an agreeable, witty conversationalist, 
and in twice contesting seats for Parliament earned 
a reputation as a good speaker. 

By some he was regarded as an Atheist and very 
wicked man, because he ceased going to church by 
the age of fifty ; but this was by no means the 
case. He had a firm belief in God, though he did 
not extend his faith to the Church of England, 
which bored him. 

I remember one Sunday at Epsom we were being 
subjected to an unusually flowery sermon by a 
parson who had come specially to attend to the 
wants of that wicked racing town, and my father 
became more and more bored as the preacher 
allowed his imagination to roam through endless 
cataracts of eloquence. But when at last he began 
a sentence with " The heart cannot conceive, etc.," 
my father could no longer restrain utterance, and 
murmured, half aloud, " Heart conceive ! I should 
think not ! It has quite enough to do to pump up 
blood ! " 

OnQ morning my father came down to breakfast 
with more than his usual pleasant expression, and 
I could see that we should presently have some- 
thing good from him which he was containing with 
difficulty. At last he could hold out no longer, 
and said : " Last night I dreamed that the devil 
came in through the window and stood at my bed- 
side. ' Well,' said I looking at him, * what do you 
want here?' 'I've come to fetch jko«,' said he. 


* Oh ! you be damned ! ' said I. ' I am damned/ 
said he. * Serve you right ! ' said I ; upon which 
he vanished." 

He was famihar with the reUgions of the East, 
and if he entered a Buddhist temple would con- 
sider that it was only civil to do " Puja " to Budda. 
Such broadmindedness did not meet with sympathy 
in the early Victorian age, when the Jewish idea of 
a Sabbath prevailed to such an extent that I can 
recollect my nurse weeping at being compelled to 
sew pn a necessary button before I was dragged off 
to Church, and at the same time exclaiming : 
" Well, the sin will not lie at viy door." 

After their marriage, my father and mother 
occupied 8 Gloucester Square, which had been 
bought by Mr. Garnett as a town house, and here 
my two eldest brothers were born ; but as the 
Garnett family came to regard the house as a sort of 
family hotel, at which they could put up whenever 
they pleased, my parents gave it up, and after a 
time took Dunchurch Hall in Warwickshire, where 
most of us spent our childhood, while my father 
hunted during the season six days a week, and my 
mother attended to the wants of her daughter and 
five sons. 

This lasted for ten years, when my father bought 
Pit Place, Epsom — a fine old house standing in 
beautiful grounds, and formerly belonging to Lord 
Lyttelton in the Regency days, when it was the 
scene of many a Georgian orgie. 

Lord Lyttelton 's bedroom was said to be haunted 
by him— as he died suddenly in it, in exact accor- 
dance with a warning contained in a dream three 
nights before in London, that he would die at 
twelve o'clock on that night. In order to cheer him 
up, his friends put the clocks on, and persuaded him 
that midnight was passed, and he went up to bed. 


Shortly after, the bell rang violently, and his 
servant, on answering it, found him lying dead. 
The hour was true midnight. 

During 1864 my only sister, Mary Valenza, was 
suddenly attacked by a galloping consumption, and 
died just before Christmas. She was a perfectly 
strong, healthy girl of seventeen, with beautiful 
chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes and fresh com- 
plexion—which gave promise of a very beautiful 
womanhood. Some slight eruption broke out on 
her, and the ignorant doctor gave her medicine 
which drove the spots in, and they went straight to 
her lungs, and she was dead in six months. 

She was a great loss to me, as we were tremen- 
dous pals, but the grief to my mother was so over- 
whelming that she never got over it. 

My father sold Pit Place in 1866, as my mother 
could not bear being in it after her daughter's 
death, and we then moved to London. 

In 1875 my father sold the house, 24 Manchester 
Square, and bought 9 Seymour Street. The same 
year his father, the Right Hon. Sir Francis Bond 
Head, Bart, K.C.H., P.C, died, and my father 
succeeded to the title. Although he was christened 
Frank, and had never been called by any other 
name, people began to address him as Sir Francis, 
and as he did not have his cards printed '\Sir 
Frank," or otherwise assert his true name, he 
slipped into being called and known as Sir Francis 
Head, which was a pity, as Sir Frank would have 
distinguished him from his father. But in those 
days there were no " Sir Franks," as there are to- 

In 1884 he bought Newberries, at Radlett in 
Hertfordshire, with its fine house and beautiful 
park of 230 acres, and died there in 1887 at the age 
of 70. On his deathbed I was witness to the curious 


phenomenon of his dual personality in the tempo- 
rary separation of body and spirit, which sometimes 
occurs during the process of the freeing of the 
spirit from the body. 

He spoke to me of the poor fellow lying beside 
him who was suffering from a pain in his heart, and 
said he thought he had a hole in it. 

" Do you think you could do anything to relieve 
it, James ? " 

I replied that perhaps if I put some vaseline in 
the hole it might relieve the pain, and proceeded to 
put same over his heart. 

*' Ah ! " he said. " I was sure you would know 
what to do — that makes him feel better already." 

In those days the Church at Radlett possessed no 
burial ground, and people used to be buried at 
Aldenham, some miles away. 

My father refused to be buried there, and in- 
structed me to bury him in the park at New- 
berries. This gave rise to some difficulties, as I 
could not get a parson to read the burial service. 
. So I performed the office myself, and then pro- 
ceeded to get a grant from Sir Walter Phillimore 
for ground for a cemetery, and my brother I^Vancis 
and I built the wall round it, opposite Radlett 
Church — setting: the whole matter settled just in 
time for my mother's death, which occurred 
within three months of that of my father, 
when I obtained permission from the Home 
Secretary to remove my father's body, and 
one funeral took place for my father and mother in 
the new cemetery. 

My father was director of several companies 
during his lifetime, beginning with the London 
and North-Western Railway (where he represented 
his father-in-law's large holding) and including the 
Vale of Neath Railway, the Great Western of 


Canada, the Millwall Docks, and the Odessa Water 

He left me the estate of Nevvberries, and in 1888 
I married Christian Helen Jane, eldest daughter 
and heiress of Captain Duncan Cameron of Inver- 
ailort, Black Watch, D.L for Inverness-shire— 
and grand-daughter of Major-General Sir Alex- 
ander Cameron of Inverailort, a distinguished 
Peninsula officer, and intimate friend of the Duke 
of Wellington, and who helped to raise the 
Highland Company of the Rifle Brigade, and 
commanded the Rifle Brigade at Waterloo. 

Sir Alexander was the lineal descendant of Ewen, 
XIII Chief of Lochiel, by his second wife, Margery 
Mackintosh, daughter of Lachlan (" Badenoch " ) 
Chief of Mackintosh. Through his maternal 
grandmother, Christian Cameron of Glendessary, 
he was a great-grandson of the celebrated Sir Ewen 
Cameron, XVII Chief of Lochiel ; and through his 
great-grandmother, Margaret Cameron of Glen- 
dessary, from Alan, XVI Chief of Lochiel. 

Such was the fighting stock from which my wife 

Sir Alexander changed his Cameron crest for a 
rifleman, and was granted a special military coat- 
of-arms for his services, which permitted his des- 
cendants to use a Rifle Brigade bugle and the 
Peninsula and Waterloo medals as part of their 

My wife through her grandmother. Christian 
Macdonell of Barrisdale, represents a branch of the 
Chiefs of Glengarry, and bears their arms with 
the difference due to a cadet. My wife is about the 
only living descendant of this once powerful family, 
who owns an estate in the West Highlands. 

In 1896 our son and daughter were born, and it 
is for their information and for that of their 


descendants, that I have compiled this short 
memoir of family history, in order that, after I have 
passed on, they may still have some records of my 
knowledge of the generations that have gone 
before them. I have purposely left blank pages, 
in order that other members of the family may add 
to this knowledge, or make any comments they 
think fit. 

J. Cameron-Head. 
JiUy, igij.